Four best budget DSLR cameras for beginners

Buying a DSLR in our experience can be a nerve-wracking experience. This writer took an entire year and a half before finally deciding what precisely to buy. The year and a half wasn’t spent saving up, but rather living in photography forums and asking over a million questions to make sure that every penny the writer spent was worth it.

We’re pretty sure you don’t want to wait that long to purchase your DSLR, or wade through an endless number of forums that will offer you infinite combinations of advice. So we’re going to make this super easy for you with this guide.

We’re going to set the budget as Rs. 60,000 as it would be a good budget to work with the many permutations and combinations required in a good DLSR setup. Given that, here is what we recommend as the best budget DSLRs in the Indian market today:

Nikon D5200

This is the newest entry-level DSLR from Nikon and incorporates a 24 megapixel sensor, and while one might be tempted to think it’s the same as the one in the D3200, we’re pretty sure it’s not. It brings with it an updated AF system with 39 AF points along with a 2,016-pixel RGB sensor for accurate metering. The camera is a long awaited update to the very popular D5100, which is a camera that we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. The D5200 costs Rs. 41,450 for the body only, and if you have 60K to blow, you can even throw in a 50mm f/1.8 lens into the mix, or just stick with a kit package with would cost you Rs. 46,950 for the 18-55mm option and Rs. 57,950 with the 18-105mm option.

Canon EOS 650D

This is the camera for you, if you’re someone who really cares about having not only the newest device on the block, but also a lot of bells and whistles. The Canon EOS 650D (read our review) has 18 megapixels worth of imaging real-estate, but more than that, it has the first hybrid AF system in a DSLR that combines both contrast and phase detection-based focusing. Canon has even announced a new kind of STM lens that is specially designed to work with the new AF system, but so far, there are only two such lenses. With a Rs. 55,995 price tag for body only and Rs. 59,995 for the kit (with 18-55mm ISII lens), the 650D is definitely a very capable entry level DSLR.

Nikon D3200

At the time of launch, the D3200 packed in the highest megapixel count on an APS-C sensor. 24 megapixels in such a small area made us quite a sceptical lot, but our review showed that the D3200 had some serious chops when it comes to image quality and detail. The D3200 (read our review) also happens to do full HD video and for a price of Rs. 30,750, this camera is quite a steal for anyone looking to experiment with photography. If you’re looking for some lenses along with the camera, the kit costs Rs. 36,450 with an 18-55mm lens, leaving you enough money to even get a 50mm f/1.8 lens and a few high capacity fast SD cards.

Canon EOS 600D


This is sort of last ditch option if you ask us, given that this particular model will complete two years of existence this February. The Canon EOS 600D does offer 18 megapixels of photo goodness along with full HD video at various frame rates, but the best part is that it costs Rs. 35,990 for the body only option, putting it almost at the same price as most advanced point and shoot cameras. With the remaining 25K, you can get lenses (kit and 50mm prime) along with a few cards and maybe even a third party flash.

For anyone looking to get into photography as a hobbyist or even as a serious amateur, picking up any of the four cameras we mentioned above would be great. If you’re looking to maximize your spending power, then we recommend going for the body-only options of the cheaper DSLRs and using the saved up money to buy some great prime lenses, which are far better for training than the kit lenses.

If you’re curious about what lenses you could buy to really get the most out of your DSLR, then we suggest you stay tuned for our next article coming up really soon.


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